THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FOUNDATION OF MANITOBA
URGENT TELE-MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE
TOTAL FUNDS RECEIVED IN 2021
23% HOSPITAL PROGRAMS
HOSPITAL PROGRAM OVERVIEW
Serving Indigenous communities both in Winnipeg and in rural and remote areas is a vital role for HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital. While Indigenous peoples represent 15% of Manitoba’s population, about 45% of child and adolescent patients who seek mental health care from our hospital are transported from Indigenous and rural communities. This results in stress for patients and their families, and requires extensive spending on medical transport every year. With support from Sobeys, we have implemented a new Urgent Tele-Mental Health Service to support children and adolescents in rural Manitoba. By bringing care closer to home, the project is breaking down barriers and further connecting our hospital to Indigenous and other rural communities. This new mode of delivery enhances the well-being of both patients and families by providing mental health services without the financial and emotional strains of travel. Remote consultations also create opportunities to engage patients’ families with knowledge about their child’s needs and guidance on how to provide effective support.
The ongoing isolation and uncertainty connected to the COVID-19 pandemic continued to drive increased need for mental health services in our communities, making the Urgent Tele-Mental Health Service an even more critical program than our team could have anticipated when we designed it.
By the end of December 2021, the team at the Children’s Hospital of Manitoba had completed 141 telehealth consults, addressing critical mental health needs in Manitoba’s remote and Indigenous communities. Three quarters of the patients who received these remote consults were able to stay in their home communities close to friends and family, giving them and their families much needed comfort in a time of distress while avoiding unnecessary disruption and transportation costs. The remaining 25% of patients were assessed by the psychiatry team from Winnipeg and connected with local community resources that could effectively meet their needs.
The more young people we serve through this remote care service, the more clear it becomes that helping patients remain at home and in their communities is – alongside access to care – integral to the positive impact of this program. We’re deeply grateful to Sobeys for helping us provide timely access to expert mental health care, especially at a time when the need is so great.